2024 NAM State of Manufacturing Address

Thursday, February 22 | 10 AM EST

WATCH | #StateofMFG


What is the state of the industry? How do manufacturers lead in an uncertain world? Where is the manufacturing economy headed? Watch the 2024 NAM State of Manufacturing Address, delivered by Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers from RCO Engineering in Roseville, Michigan.

Special remarks were given by:

  • Kathy Wengel, Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Operations and Risk Officer, and NAM board chair
  • John Walsh, President and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers’ Association
  • Mark Hackel, County Executive of Macomb County, Michigan

We extend our gratitude to Macomb County, the Michigan Manufacturers Association and RCO Engineering for hosting this year’s address.

The 2024 #CompetingToWin Tour

This year’s NAM State of Manufacturing Address officially kicked off the 2024 leg of the Competing to Win Tour. This year, with expiring tax provisions in 2026 looming, the tour will focus on urging policymakers to help empower manufacturers to grow their operations, hire more workers, increase wages, expand facilities and invest for the future.

Other key themes on the agenda:

  • Stopping the Regulatory Onslaught
  • The Critical Need for Action to Bolster Our Workforce
  • Driving Global Competitiveness



Official Remarks

Jay Timmons, NAM President and CEO
NAM State of Manufacturing Address
RCO Engineering, Roseville, Michigan
Feb. 22, 2024

Good morning! Thank you to everyone across the country for joining us.

We’re here at the facilities of RCO Engineering, in Macomb County, Michigan.

Like John [Walsh] said, you’re part of a tradition today. Every year, we travel the country to deliver the NAM’s State of Manufacturing Address.

We reflect on everything manufacturers are accomplishing, all the good we’re doing for the world—and how we’re driving the American economy forward.

Manufacturing represents more than 10% of the U.S. economy, or $2.9 trillion, and 16% of the economy here in Michigan. But manufacturing’s impact on our country and on the world is incalculable.

Think about all you have accomplished—and all that our diverse industry has accomplished this past year.

  • From deploying cutting-edge digital technologies in factories and plants…
  • …to developing treatments that slow the progression of debilitating illnesses like Alzheimer’s…
  • …and strengthening our supply chains closer to home.

Next-generation electric vehicles, for example, will be powered by inputs like the industrial batteries that will be built at UL’s Advanced Battery Laboratory, which broke ground last year here in Michigan.

That’s just a small sample of accomplishments worth celebrating

At the heart of our achievements are incredible manufacturing teams—like RCO Engineering.

You celebrated your 50th anniversary last year. Your company has had an amazing story, growing and adapting with the times, broadening your capabilities to include aerospace design.

Resilience, adaptability, constantly refining and strengthening the commitment to the communities you serve—that’s why manufacturers in the U.S. are the best in the business.

You know, I caught a headline recently that read, “U.S. Winning World Economic War.”

The point was this: Our economy “grew faster than any other large, advanced economy last year—by a wide margin—and is on track to do so again in 2024.”

Now, it doesn’t always feel like we’re winning. But, the numbers show we are in many ways. And why are we winning? Well, that’s easy. You. You. Manufacturers in America.

The state of the manufacturing industry depends on the people in it. And we are now 13 million strong—the largest in more than 15 years.

If we can continue on this trajectory, this resurgence, imagine what the state of manufacturing might look like in 2030—at the end of the decade.

Artificial intelligence may unlock new superpowers for American workers. We might reach a point where no other country can keep up with our productivity or the pace of innovation. Manufacturing investment could flock to our shores even faster.

But, here’s the important part: That’s not guaranteed.

In the past few weeks, Washington, D.C., has made a few good decisions, but it has also made some major unforced errors. Leaders in both parties are on the verge of making more. That’s part of the reason that only 66% of manufacturers right now have a positive outlook for their companies.

So that economic “war” we’re winning? We could see the tide turn.

We will head in the wrong direction…

…if Congress lets taxes go up on small businesses when rates expire next year…

…or if they hit you with even more regulations—regulations even harsher than ones they have in Europe…

…or if they fail to solve the immigration crisis because they put politics over good policy…

…or if they choose trade barriers rather than trade agreements…

…or if they abandon our allies overseas and put our national security at risk.

Yes, there are reasons to be optimistic, but there are big decisions we have to get right if we want to achieve our full potential.

That … that is why I can report that the state of manufacturing in America today remains strong and resilient but under threat.

The Manufacturing Competitiveness Agenda

This is an election year, and your voices need to be heard clearly.

But we’re not here to endorse a candidate. No. We are here to hold all candidates and leaders accountable. Because it takes leadership from both parties to ensure manufacturers have the optimal conditions to thrive.

The industry’s growth has gotten a boost from transformative decisions across many presidential administrations:

  • Trade agreements under Presidents Bush and Obama that let us sell more American products overseas
  • Historic tax reform and regulatory certainty under the Trump administration
  • And the landmark infrastructure bill, the CHIPS and Science Act and more under the current administration

That’s the kind of leadership we want.

In his State of the Union Address next month, President Biden will probably take some credit for what manufacturers have achieved. That’s fair.

I know he deeply cares about manufacturing. As he often says on the road, “This nation used to lead the world in manufacturing, and we’re going to do it again.”


But what he won’t tell you is that his federal agencies are, at this very moment, working to undermine his manufacturing legacy—those agencies are undermining your success.

In fact, just two weeks ago, they announced one big regulation that could wipe out up to 1 million jobs.

It’s referred to as National Ambient Air Quality Standards or PM 2.5. It’s not the name that matters. It’s the consequences. It’s stricter than rules they have even in Europe. And in vast portions of the country, we will barely be able to build new manufacturing facilities as a result.

Michigan would be one of the states hit hardest. And if new manufacturing investments dry up, that spills over to the rest of the state economy.

It affects the family trying to sell their home, the teacher hoping for new investments in schools, the students looking for job opportunities here in the state.

And to what end? You cannot solve the world’s environmental challenges by driving manufacturing investment away from the United States to countries with lower standards.

The Biden administration also won’t solve climate change by pausing approvals of exports of American liquified natural gas, which they announced they would do last month.

Instead, they are forcing our allies, like Europe and Japan, to buy dirtier energy from countries we can’t trust, potentially enriching the likes of Russia. Russian natural gas, by the way, has substantially more emissions potential than the liquified natural gas we produce in the U.S. So, we’re also making it harder to achieve our climate goals. And it undercuts our most basic national security objectives.

Can we agree that makes no sense?

Look, the regulatory onslaught is real. It’s a hidden tax. The average American may not feel it yet. But if there isn’t a course correction, they will.

So here’s our message to federal agencies: Stop the onslaught. Work with manufacturers so that regulations are sensible.


And here’s our message on taxes: No new taxes on manufacturers in America.

Remember the 2017 tax reforms? They were rocket fuel for our industry. We kept our promises to raise wages, hire workers and invest in our communities. We would not be outpacing other countries without them.

But many of the competitive rates and the pro-growth deductions we won in 2017 are expiring in 2025. Some already have.

Can we agree that it is economic malpractice to let taxes go up on innovators and on America’s small businesses? Why should you have to work even harder to compete with China?

One of our member companies shared with us the difference tax policy makes. Valley Forge & Bolt is a small, Arizona–based manufacturer of machine parts. We’ll be with them tomorrow, in fact.

After the 2017 tax cuts, the company hired more employees, expanded benefits, replaced aging equipment and invested in technologies that improve productivity. The result? The company had the best sales year in its history. But, as they warned us, if the government raises taxes, there will be tradeoffs.

So the path is clear: no new taxes on manufacturers. And while we’re at it, Congress should bring back some of the tax policies that made it easier for manufacturers to invest in the future.

Right now, our entire industry is waiting on the U.S. Senate to pass a bipartisan tax bill that restores expired or phasing-out tax incentives for investments in R&D, new facilities and equipment.

These provisions, especially on R&D, have been a force multiplier for you here at RCO. It’s just common sense that the tax code should encourage these kinds of investments.


Common sense. We know that’s in short supply in D.C. And where is that most obvious? Immigration policy.

Can we all agree that what’s happening at the border is unacceptable?

And can’t we all agree that legal immigration is a net positive for our economy and our country?

And if we can agree on that, then shouldn’t we be able to support a bipartisan border security and national security bill—one supported by the border patrol union for that matter?

We didn’t like every piece of that Senate bill either. But here was my test: Does it make us more secure than we are today? Yes. Does it make our workforce stronger than it is today? Yes. And does it help our allies overseas? Yes.

I don’t care if you’re a Democratic or Republican member of Congress: If your answer is do nothing—on immigration or on national security—then you need to explain to the overwhelmed border communities why you are not sending help.

You need to explain to manufacturers with more than 600,000 open jobs why you won’t improve the visa program so they can find talent to fill more of those positions.

And, you need to explain your decision to Ukrainian soldiers, who left their families for two years to fight on the front lines against our adversary—against a country that is working every day to see the U.S. fail. You need to tell them why the land of the free should abandon the brave people defending democracy.


I have to tell you, I am flat out of patience, and I know you are too. I’m sick of the games, and the shifting goal posts, and the “leaders” who don’t respect you enough to give you a straight answer from the start.

So, here’s what we’re going to do. From now through the election—and then every day after that—we’re going to hold our leaders accountable.

You want to support manufacturing? Here’s our roadmap. It’s called “Competing to Win.”

It’s common sense. It’s consistent. It will make manufacturers in the U.S. even more globally competitive. And we will make sure policymakers know about this agenda and what’s at stake.

And they need to hear that from you—at town halls, at chance meetings, on social media.

Here in Michigan, you will be in the spotlight this election season, so grab the microphone.

Ask them, where are the trade deals we need?

Will they commit on the spot not to raise taxes on manufacturers in America?

Can they get to “yes” on an immigration solution?

Will they support the growth and upskilling of the manufacturing workforce?

Our commitment is to work with anyone, and I truly mean anyone, who will put policy—policy that supports people—ahead of politics, personality or process.

We will stand with you if you stand with us in advancing the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong.

Free enterprise.


Individual liberty.

Equal opportunity.

Because here’s what I know: Manufacturers are building an incredible future for our country and our world.

The world needs us. The world needs you. Manufacturing teams like you make life better for everyone.

That’s our job, and we’re going to do it no matter how one election turns out.

People are counting on us, and Washington should either get on board or get out of our way.

We see beyond the horizon, so we refuse to let short-term thinking take us down the wrong path.

We are standing at a crossroads. We know the right path, and we’re going to lead the way.

Thank you so much for your welcome—and for your leadership.